Loyola doctors cite dangers of drunken walking

We all know about the dangers of drunken driving. But have you heard about the hazards of drunken walking? 

As the holidays are coming around, people are bombarded with the hazards of drinking and driving. However, it can be just as dangerous to be walking and drinking according to Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine website.

Trauma surgeon Dr. Thomas Esposito at Loyola University Health System in Maywood says the dangers of drinking and walking is often forgotten during the holidays, but it is just as risky as drunken driving.

New Year’s is the most deadly day for pedestrians mainly because alcohol consumption is significantly higher than on most days. In 2008, 38 percent of fatally injured pedestrians 16 and older had blood-alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent, which is the legal definition for impaired driving in Illinois. The percentage rose to 53 percent for deaths occurring during 9 p.m.-6 a.m. Fourteen percent of pedestrian deaths involved drivers with BACs at or above 0.08 percent.

Esposito gives some advice for those who plan on walking on New Year’s. Don’t wear dark clothing at night that can make it difficult for drivers to see you. Walk solely on the sidewalks and cross at designated crosswalks. Also, it’s a good idea to walk in a group, which is easier for drivers to spot, and try to walk with at least one person who has not been drinking, a designated chaperone or escort.

Drivers should also take precautions when in an area near restaurants, bars, and other places people will be around because pedestrians who drink will have slower reflexes and bad judgment.

– Kaitlin McMurry

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